Motorists in Queensland may soon be forced to complete a road rules test to renew driving licenses, as authorities battle rising road tolls. However, in a move that has angered safety advocates, annual vehicle health checks are still not on the cards.
The Queensland government plans to introduce Australia’s first online road rules test for motorists renewing their driving licenses, following the deadliest 12-month period on the state’s roads in 13 years.
In response to increased tolls on Queensland roads, the Road Safety Roundtable was established in January 2023, made up of representatives from the state’s department of transport, Queensland Police, the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ) and advocacy groups.
The ‘expert group’ recommended motorists of all ages take a “refresher course” at the time of license renewal.
For now though, there are still no plans to introduce annual car safety record checks, which many advocates would make a bigger dent in the toll than an online road rules test.
In Queensland, a car is never checked for roadworthiness, except when the vehicle is sold to another used car buyer.
In NSW all cars are required to undergo roadworthiness checks once they are over five years old.
Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey saidThe proposed rules of the road test course would focus on the new regulations, rather than the lengthy theory exam taken by motorists applying for learner and provisional licenses.
“It can seem like you go online and have a variety of questions covering new territory that has happened since you last got your license,” Bailey said. ABC Radio Brisbane earlier this week.
“It’s designed to be a refresher course, that people would be looking to do in an easy online way, that gives you a good review of what’s happened in the last four or five years, since you last got your license.”
While the details of the proposed course have yet to be finalized, Mr. Bailey said that a driver’s license will not be revoked if the answers are incorrect; instead, they will be offered multiple opportunities to give the correct answer.
“It’s not about whether or not we take away your license, it’s about educating yourself as a driver. If you don’t get it right the first time, you’ll get another chance and another chance until you get it right.”
RACQ executive director David Carter said the motor club supports better driver education, but believes more information is needed before implementing the test.
“We support driver education. Because of the shape that it could take, and it’s very soon, we would like all the steps here to be based on research and evidence,” Carter said at a news conference on Monday.
“Traffic rules change over time, it’s been a long time since I started driving and I know the rules have changed. I think refresher training for all age groups and all types of drivers is a good thing. Continuous driver training is a good thing.
No Australian state or territory currently requires motorists to take a road test before applying for a renewed licence, although medical certificates are required for elderly motorists in most jurisdictions.
Motorists aged 75 and over are required to undergo annual health checks to retain their driver’s license in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory. In Western Australia, the age threshold is 80 years.
In Victoria, Tasmania and the Northern Territory, motorists are only required to self-report and disclose any conditions that may affect their driving ability as they age.